Europe’s most powerful clubs have been warned that they will not be allowed to use the threat of a breakaway competition to “blackmail” their way to greater influence.
Aleksander Ceferin, president of European governing body Uefa, insisted he would thwart any attempts to form a “super league” ring-fenced for the continent’s best-known teams.
It is the latest broadside at inequality issued by Ceferin, who was elected in September shortly after Uefa reformed the Champions League to grant more places to teams from leading nations.
“There will be no closed league. It’s as simple as that. That is not in line with our values and ideas,” said the Slovenian.
Ceferin also took aim at the biggest leagues, of which the Premier League is the richest, adding: “To some leagues, I will say: we will never give in to the blackmail of those who think they can manipulate small leagues because they think they are all-powerful because of the astronomical values they generate.”
He promised a period of consultation with leagues, clubs and players to devise a five-year strategic vision for European football, vowing that it would be a joint effort, not foisted upon them.
“It will not come out of the blue, as may have happened in the past,” he added. “It will not be drafted by some anonymous bureaucrat and his paper-pushers hidden away on the shores of Lake Geneva.”